1 U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections Supermax Prisons: Overview and General Considerations
2 National Institute of Corrections Morris L. Thigpen, Director Susan M. Hunter, Chief Prisons Division Richard H. Franklin, Project Manager Photos taken at Washington Department of Corrections Clallam Bay Corrections Center.
3 Supermax Prisons: Overview and General Considerations by Chase Riveland January 1999 This document was developed under Technical Assistance #98P4002 from the National Institute of Corrections, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
4 Contents Acknowledgments... iv Foreword... v Section 1. Introduction... 1 Section 2. Survey and Survey Results... 3 Section 3. History and Definition... 5 History... 5 Definition... 5 Purpose... 6 Admission/Release Criteria... 6 Section 4. Operational Issues... 8 Classification... 8 Programming... 9 Religion Length of Stay Human Contact Medical Services Mental Health Services Food Service Property Hygiene and Sanitation Issues Security Policies and Procedures Use of Force Documentation Section 5. Staff Issues Personnel Characteristics Recruitment and Selection Training Stress Leadership and Supervision Section 6. Siting, Design, and Construction Issues Co-Located vs. Separate Site Selection Design Issues Construction Costs Implications for Operating Costs Further Considerations Section 7. Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations References and Bibliography Appendix. Checklist of Considerations for an Extended Control Facility iii
5 Acknowledgments Preparation for the writing of this monograph included several tasks. First, a group of correctional administrators, experienced in the design and/or operation of supermax-type correctional facilities, came together for a couple of days to share their experiences, opinions, and lessons learned about these facilities. Thank you to the members of this group: Greg Hershberger, North Central Regional Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons (former Warden of the Ad Max Florence); Ken McGinnis, Director, Michigan Department of Corrections (former Director, Illinois Department of Corrections); Larry Meachum, Director, Office of Justice Programs/Corrections Program Office (former director of three state corrections systems); James Spalding, Director, Idaho Department of Corrections (former Director, Division of Prisons, Washington State); Mary West, Regional Director, Colorado Department of Corrections; Frank Wood, former Director, Minnesota Department of Corrections (former Warden, Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility); and Richard Franklin, NIC Prisons Division (former Director of Prisons Alaska). Their knowledge and input were invaluable. Second, visits were made to several supermax facilities. Particular thanks go to Warden John Hurley and staff at the federal Ad Max Florence, CO; Superintendent Donice Neal and staff at the Colorado State Penitentiary, Canon City, CO; and Warden Steve Cambra and staff at Pelican Bay State Prison, Crescent City, CA. The author had earlier visited Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility at Stillwater, MN; the U.S. Penitentiary at Marion, IL; and three Intensive Management Units in Washington State, as well as a number of segregation units around the country. Numerous corrections professionals throughout the country were contacted in a follow-up to an NIC Information Center survey. They were, without exception, generous with their time in responding to questions. Last, but certainly not least, appreciation is extended to the members of the NIC Advisory Board who recognized an emerging issue and to those at NIC who followed up on that interest: Morris Thigpen, Director; Larry Solomon, Deputy Director; and Susan Hunter, Prisons Division Chief. iv
6 Foreword Units and programs for the management of dangerous and disruptive inmates have been a source of controversy in the field of corrections for many years. Although correctional approaches such as concentration, dispersal, and isolation are not new, the development of supermax prisons is a relatively recent trend. More than 30 states are operating one or more units or facilities created specifically for their corrections systems most threatening inmates. This document discusses issues that are germane to planning and operating supermax units. The author has more than 30 years of correctional experience, including planning and operating highsecurity prisons, and has served as director of two state departments of corrections. We hope the document will contribute to the development of some common definitions where there is now broad divergence, enhance understanding of the myriad issues related to the management of violent and disruptive inmates, and provide benchmarks by which corrections systems may examine their need for specialized prisons or units for high-risk inmates. Morris L. Thigpen, Director National Institute of Corrections v
7 Section 1. Introduction Supermax prisons fad, trend, or wise investment? Prisons historically have had jails within prisons. Simply because people are in the controlled environment of a prison does not stop some of them from being assaultive or violent, attempting to escape, inciting disturbances, preying on weaker inmates, or otherwise exhibiting disruptive behavior. Such people must be removed from the general population of the prison environment while they threaten any of those behaviors. Order and safety are the priority objectives of any correctional facility. toughening of the inmate population, increased gang activity, the difficulty of maintaining order in severely crowded prisons, and from experience gained over time that suggests such units are beneficial. Use of such facilities also represents a philosophical change, moving from what Professor David Ward and Mr. Norman Carlson, in their article entitled Super- Maximum Custody Prisons in the United States, termed the dispersion approach to the concentration ap- proach for the handling of troublesome inmates. Many agencies in the past would spread their troublemakers around the system or in various units of a prison and, in some instances, house them in other states or with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This dispersal of problem inmates would be an attempt to prevent them from uniting in their misconduct and also allow staff at a given institution to gain a measure of relief from dealing with the same troublemakers over an extended period of time. This approach also enabled prison officials to break up cliques and gangs, but the success of the approach was and is at least partially dependent on the number and types of correctional facilities available at various custody levels. The more recent concentration approach creates specific units or facilities to manage this troublesome type of inmate in a high-security environment, generally isolated from all other inmates. The premise is that gen- eral population prisons will be more easily and safely managed if the troublemakers are completely removed. In some places, these highly focused institutions have been a component of tough on crime agendas touted by elected officials, combating the assertions of many observers that prisons are like country clubs. In other jurisdictions, they have been proposed by corrections officials to meet the existing or projected need to isolate identified individuals or groups of inmates from the general population to enhance the management of their facilities. Whatever the motivation for building such facilities, the number of them already in operation, under construction, planned, or proposed has increased significantly over the last several years. More than 30 states report they are operating one or more such units or facilities. These units and facilities are significantly more ex- Prison administrators have traditionally placed persons exhibiting such behaviors into separate housing units generally called segregation, punitive segregation, disciplinary segregation, or some other name that differentiates the unit from general population housing. In recent years, particularly since the significant involvement of the federal courts in the 1970s and 1980s, this has ordinarily been accomplished after due process hearings and a finding of guilt. In disciplinary placements, the inmate would be given a specific amount of time to serve based on the seriousness and frequency of the violation(s). Other inmates who were repeat offenders or very serious violators of critical institutional rules would be individually confined and segregated from the general population until it was believed they no longer threatened to prey, incite, assault, or escape. Isolated housing has also been used for protective custody inmates who might be at risk from other inmates as well as for other special populations, such as inmates who are on death row, HIV-positive, or mentally ill. In the last few years, many jurisdictions across the country have built or renovated prison facilities or units with the express purpose of incarcerating inmates under highly isolated conditions with severely limited access to programs, exercise, staff, or other inmates. Other jurisdictions are in various stages of considering or planning such units or facilities though a faction made up of corrections officials, inmates, and inmate advocates has raised concerns about, or even condemned, them. They suggest they are cruel and inhumane, susceptible to abuses, and damaging to the inmates housed in them. Many corrections officials have defended the need for such facilities based on the perceived 1
8 pensive to build than traditional general population prisons, due in part to the enhanced and extensive security features on locks, doors, and perimeters; reinforced walls, ceilings, and floors; and, frequently, the incorporation of advanced electronic systems and technology. Their operating costs have proven to be much greater also. Providing meals and other services at individual cell fronts, multiple-officer escorts, and maintenance of elaborate electronic systems are examples of things that add up quickly. The number of correctional officers required to assure both internal and external security, movement of inmates, security searches of cells, and the delivery of food and other supplies and services to individual cells generally drives staffing ratios and therefore operating costs much higher than those of general population prisons. The cost, cost-benefit, operating, legal, and ethical/ moral issues of such facilities also raise a great deal of debate. Little is known about the impact of locking an inmate in an isolated cell for an average of 23 hours per day with limited human interaction, little constructive activity, and an environment that assures maximum control over the individual. Are potential negative effects greater after an individual has been in such a facility for three months, one year, three years, five years, or more? Do extended isolation, absence of normal stimuli, and a controlling environment result in damage to an inmate s psyche? Research in this area is sparse. That which does exist tends to focus on the eventual recidivist criminal behavior either in or out of prison rather than on the potential psychological damage to the inmate. Very little is known about the effect of these facilities on inmates with existing mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. Are certain types of mentally ill inmates made worse? Can they be treated effectively in this type of environment? Again, little research is available to help us evaluate the efficacy of such placements. Proponents point to reductions in assaults on inmates and staff and other serious incidents throughout the entire corrections system since the establishment of such facilities. There exists little or no hard data comparing such perceived impacts on entire systems versus the fiscal cost to gain such results, although anecdotal information is common. Generally, the overall constitutionality of these programs remains unclear. The impact of supermax facilities on staff working there has also been a subject of much discussion over the last several years, ranging from the need to pick very experienced staff to the heightened levels of stress that they experience. Having to deal on a daily basis with inmates who have proven to be the most troublesome in an environment that prioritizes human control and isolation presents line staff, supervisors, and facility administrators with extraordinary challenges. Correctional administrators with experience in operating supermax facilities talk about the potential for creating a we/they syndrome between staff and inmates. The nature and reputation of the inmate and frequently the behavior combined with ultra-control and rigidity magnify the tension between inmates and staff. When there is little interaction except in control situations, the adversarial nature of the relationships tends to be one of dominance and, in return, resistance on both sides. Generally, the overall constitutionality of these programs remains unclear. As larger numbers of inmates with a greater diversity of characteristics, backgrounds, and behaviors are incarcerated in these facilities, the likelihood of legal challenge is increased. Caution in expanding the types and number of inmates placed in these facilities will serve all parties well. A discussion of legal issues relevant to supermax facilities is contained in a forthcoming National Institute of Corrections (NIC) publication entitled Supermax Prisons: Legal Issues and Considerations. It is important then to assist agencies that are operating such facilities in asking the right questions about how they are operated. It is equally important to assist jurisdictions that are planning such facilities to ask the right questions about who they intend to put there, what design considerations they should explore, and how the facility will be operated. And, finally, it is important to assist jurisdictions that are yet or will be debating the issue, by providing as much information as possible to help frame the debate. A checklist contained in the appendix to this document was developed to guide practitioners discussions. 2
9 Section 2. Survey and Survey Results In 1997, the NIC Prisons Division and Information houses inmates in several levels of transition to Center released a Special Issues in Corrections paper general population. entitled Supermax Housing: A Survey of Current Practices, based on a December 1996 survey of correc- C A third jurisdiction, with about 30,000 inmates, tions systems nationwide. Responses were received from projects a need for 20% of its capacity to be the 50 state corrections departments; the Federal Bureau supermax beds. It currently operates two facilities, of Prisons; the Correctional Service of Canada; and the with over 1,000 beds collectively, that it describes New York City, Cook County, and District of Columbia as supermax and reports plans to nearly double that Departments of Corrections. For the purposes of the number. These facilities house all new arrivals to survey, supermax housing was defined as follows: the prison system, who are placed in maximum confinement requiring movement in restraints and A freestanding facility, or a distinct unit within a living restrictions akin to segregation conditions. freestanding facility, that provides for the management Inmates in the next lower custody classification live and secure control of inmates who have been officially in medium-security units under medium-custody designated as exhibiting violent or seriously disruptive restrictions. behavior while incarcerated. Such inmates have been determined to be a threat to safety and security in C Two other jurisdictions, one with an inmate populatraditional high-security facilities and their behavior tion of more than 100,000 and the other with nearly can be controlled only by separation, restricted move- 45,000 inmates, each report having a supermax ment, and limited access to staff and other inmates. facility of approximately 500 beds designated to house inmates who have threatened or injured other Survey results revealed that jurisdictions do not prisoners or staff; possessed deadly weapons or share a common definition of supermax due to their dangerous drugs; disrupted the orderly operation of differing needs, classification criteria and methods, and a prison; or escaped or attempted to escape in a operational considerations. It became clear that what manner that involved injury, threat of life, or use of may be supermax in one jurisdiction may not be in deadly weapons. These jurisdictions report a need another. Examples of how differently jurisdictions for supermax housing for.5% to 1% of their inmate define supermax and its operations follow. populations. C One jurisdiction with approximately 20,000 inmates anticipates a need for supermax housing for 1% of its inmate population. It currently operates a 50-bed supermax unit within a maximum-security prison and is planning an additional 150 to 175 beds. Inmates housed in this unit have been unable or unwilling to conform to the rules and regulations of administrative segregation and have a history of violent, assaultive, and/or disruptive behavior within the corrections system. The minimum length of stay in supermax is 18 months. C Another jurisdiction with an inmate population under 15,000 reports a need for supermax housing for 5% of its inmate population. It reports as supermax a 500-bed prison for inmates in administrative segregation status. This facility The survey revealed that some supermax facilities house only inmates who could not be controlled in traditional administrative segregation conditions. Others are an extension or expansion of traditional segregation or administrative segregation and may house protective custody and/or disciplinary segregation inmates. Yet others house inmates who would reside in close-custody general population in most other jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, mentally ill inmates are speci- fically excluded from the supermax population while, in others, this level of control is considered necessary because of the paucity of mental health resources avail- able in the system. Some agencies include transition programs in their supermax facilities that provide opportunity to earn privileges similar to those available to maximum or close general population inmates. A supermax unit within a high-custody facility does not usually have transition beds as would be found in a free- 3
10 The inclusion or exclusion of mentally ill and developmentally disabled inmates differs greatly among jurisdictions. C Programs available in supermax facilities range from none, to cell front only, to televised pro- gramming, to some congregate programming. standing supermax facility. Several general conclusions can be drawn from the survey: C There is no universal definition of what supermax facilities are and who should be placed in them. C The current and projected reasons stated for needing C Some jurisdictions provide transition programming supermax space vary widely among jurisdictions, to assist those leaving the extended control unit, including increased violence, legislative interest, while others do not. and availability of federal funds for such construction. Supermax as defined in the survey may exist in relatively few jurisdictions. The survey results suggest C The reported need for supermax beds ranges from that in some jurisdictions supermax may be primarily 0% to 20% of the reporting jurisdictions total bed a correctional architecture term that describes a type of capacity. prison construction and a decision to concentrate higher risk inmates while, in other jurisdictions, it may be a C Some jurisdictions use supermax facilities new custody or confinement status associated with a interchangeably with disciplinary and/or changing inmate profile. The supermax count in the administrative segregation. reporting jurisdictions includes inmates ranging from the most intractable to those who would reside in close or C The process for admission to and release from maximum general population in some other jurissupermax facilities varies widely, with the final dictions. The lack of a universal definition suggests the approving authority ranging from the institution need for further examination and determination of superintendent/warden to the director/commis- whether supermax should be a custody/confinement sioner of the department of corrections. status or a facility/unit security designation. C Jurisdictions operating supermax housing vary widely in the length of time they hold inmates there. Some have determinate timeframes and some indeterminate. 4
11 Section 3. History and Definition History Various versions of high-custody and high-control prisons have existed in this country over the years. Prisons dating back to the earliest settlers operated a variety of isolation cells or units commonly referred to as the hole and generally used as a form of extra punishment for those who violated a prison s rules repeatedly or egregiously. Commonly recognized as the forerunner of today s supermax facilities, Alcatraz became the high-security penitentiary for habitual and intractable federal prisoners in Until its closure in 1963, Alcatraz housed the federal government s most highly publicized offenders, its most sophisticated prison escape artists and riot leaders, and its most assaultive inmates. Alcatraz was closed in an era in which rehabilitation had become the primary rationale for penal confinement. The concentration model was abandoned, and inmates at Alcatraz were dispersed to federal penitentiaries across the country. Then, in 1978, the level of assaults and violence directed toward staff and prison unrest prompted the development of a special high-security control unit at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. In 1983, the deaths of two officers and an inmate resulted in this prison s conversion to indefinite administrative segregation, or lockdown. Marion housed the Bureau of Prisons most violent and troublesome prisoners until the opening of the Administrative Maximum Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, in Although many of the state corrections systems have historically targeted one or more of their prisons for the most threatening prisoners, seldom have those prisons operated on a total lockdown basis as normal routine. Even prisons designated as maximum security have generally allowed movement, inmate interaction, congregate programs, and work opportunities. They have become political symbols of how tough a jurisdiction has become. As correctional populations have escalated in recent years, prison crowding has become the norm in most jurisdictions. Most prisons across the country have been operating at well over 100% of design capacity. This crowding aggravated by the increase in street gang members, drug offenders, mentally ill, and youthful offenders has stressed the prisons and corrections systems. Maintaining order has been a daunting challenge for prison wardens and corrections system administrators. One response on the part of prison officials in many jurisdictions, in attempting to maintain control, has been the introduction of supermax units or facilities. The trend toward proliferation of supermax housing would appear to be at least partially related to the belief that maintaining order in the larger part of a prison or an entire corrections system is enhanced by isolating the most serious and chronic troublemakers from the general population. In fact, many corrections officials state that the mere threat of such units is preventative in nature that many inmates who might otherwise be disruptive are not, due to their fear of placement there. The fact that such facilities often are politically and publicly attractive (despite the considerable cost to build and operate them) also has had a role in their increase nationwide. They have become political symbols of how tough a jurisdiction has become. In some places, the motivation to build a supermax has come not from corrections officials, but from the legislature and in at least one instance the governor. Definition As supermax prisons have increased in number, been reported on by the media, and gained popularity with the public, a variety of names have emerged around the country to describe them. Special housing unit, maxi-maxi, maximum control facility, secured housing unit, intensive housing unit, intensive management unit, and administrative maximum penitentiary are but a few of the names used. The term supermax is the one heard most frequently in the media and in the field of corrections the generic descriptor. Yet, as learned from the NIC survey, the term is applied to a wide variety of facilities and programs handling an equally wide variety of inmate populations. 5
12 custody populations with extended control populations runs the risk of overkill in the custody and security provided to inmates who have traditionally been handled without such rigorous and expensive control features. Few inmates serving short disciplinary segregation sanc- tions require the 22-hour-plus lockdown status, the privilege reductions, and the multiple-officer movement practices that extended control units generally employ. For purposes of this report, we will describe supermax as a highly restrictive, high-custody housing unit within a secure facility, or an entire secure facility, that isolates inmates from the general prison population and from each other due to grievous crimes, repetitive assaultive or violent institutional behavior, the threat of escape or actual escape from high-custody facility(s), or inciting or threatening to incite disturbances in a correctional institution. The term facility is used throughout this report for brevity to refer to either or both a unit within a facility or an entire separate facility. It is assumed that such a facility would be operated with the majority of services and programs provided at cell front, that movement from the cell would be in restraints with multiple-officer escort, and that overall security would be the highest level available in an institution or the corrections system. It is important for agencies to develop a working definition if they want to properly evaluate an existing supermax facility or if they are planning to build and/or operate one. Differentiating these programs from traditional segregation units is essential if they are to be planned and operated efficiently and defensibly. Ambiguity in definition inhibits the ability of the corrections profession to develop sound models that may be readily adapted across jurisdictions with relative assurance that they will meet legal challenges, humane expectations, and generally accepted professional standards. In actuality, formal standards (such as those promulgated by the American Correctional Association and American Bar Association for correctional facilities) do not exist for supermax facilities specifically. Purpose The combined best thinking of professionals who have administered, developed, operated, and/or planned such programs would suggest their purpose should be for extended control of inmates known to be violent, assaultive, major escape risks, or likely to promote disturbances in a general population prison and that the criteria for admission to and release from such a facility should be explicit and narrow. The use of these facilities for problem inmates for whom lesser levels of control may be satisfactory may deprive them of freedoms, education, treatment, and work opportunities from which they could reap significant benefits and may subject them to pressures detrimental to their physical and psychological health. Mixing disciplinary segregation and protective Admission/Release Criteria Critical to developing a working definition for an extended control facility is determining who will be in it. Extended control suggests that inmates who have demonstrated that they are chronically violent or assaultive, who present a serious escape risk, or who have demonstrated a capacity to incite disturbances or otherwise are threatening the orderly operation of the general population institution may become target populations. Thought should be given to limiting the use of extended control housing to inmates who present a clear and present danger. In clearly defining the population that is appropriate for extended control housing, agencies should also identify housing and placement criteria for inmates for whom lesser levels of security and custody may be appropriate, including: C those who are uncontrollable due to mental illness, C the incorrigible who are subject to frequent disciplinary segregation, C those in need of protective custody, C those in need of administrative confinement for reasons that may require separation but not extended control, those requiring observation because of unacceptable or problematic adjustment. Use of extended control housing for inmates who have only been situationally assaultive, or who commit minor (albeit frequent) infractions, or who cannot control their behavior due to mental illness will simply consume very expensive high-security beds with little overall operational impact. Prison staff have always had to deal with unco- operative inmates. They continuously test the limits, 6
13 frequently break minor rules, and consume an inordinate amount of staff time. As comforting as it may be to an institution staff to be rid of such persons, the use of costly high-custody beds for this population is probably not only inefficient, but arguably overkill. These facilities are inappropriate for the nuisance inmate. Underlying the challenge of who to put in such facilities is the question of whether placement should rely solely on actual behavior or also include individuals who could be troublesome. Attempting to use predictive criteria based on subjective information has led historically to unsatisfactory and possibly indefensible results. Most agencies, therefore, base their criteria on objective behavior-driven information although that behavior may include only the threat to commit or incite violence, or to escape. In addition to the target population for which extended control housing is designed, consideration must also be given to the inmates other than the target population who may reside in the facility. Terms of definition are frequently applied to both the facility and the residents. Often, a labeling process takes place and inmates housed in supermax facilities are known, counted, and treated as supermax inmates even though they may be in a transition program or assigned to another program in the facility. These facilities are inappropriate for the nuisance inmate. In large extended control facilities in which a portion of the population is close or maximum custody with some general population movement capabilities all inmates are often viewed as supermax or at least more difficult than regular maximum-custody inmates in other facilities. They may even view themselves as supermax inmates, and staff may subject them to controls and surveillance well beyond what their particular status demands, ascribing to them levels of threat far beyond reality. Viewing inmates who are not actually in extended control status as such may be a selffulfilling prophecy that diminishes progress or leads to a deterioration of behavior on the part of the inmates. Release criteria must also be given serious thought by the agency operating an extended control facility. Whether based on explicit timeframes, behavioral expectations, or combinations of both, it is important that the inmate be informed as to the conditions under which he/she may be released. With the goal of safely transferring inmates to lesser custody as soon as feasible, facility and central administration staff should conduct regular reviews of each inmate to assess the necessity of retaining him/her in the extended control environment. This becomes even more essential as a sentence nears its end and the inmate may be released to the community. 7
14 Section 4. Operational Issues Many management and operational issues gain heightened importance in extended control facilities. Some of these are: C The criteria by which inmates are admitted to or excluded from the facilities, C How inmates are managed, C The services they are provided, C The manner in which they are expected to behave, C The amount of human contact they have, C The allowable use of force and control of the use of force, C The criteria and process for release from extended control. The potential for abuse in an environment that prioritizes control of human beings, who by definition or in reality are the worst of the worst, can be mitigated by thoughtful attention to the manner in which such facilities are operated. The agency and facility mission and objectives, which include humane treatment, reduction of anger and violence, and reintegration into general population, should be clearly stated and affirmed in operations, programs, and staff training. The agency planning to operate such a facility, or evaluating its existing operation, should recognize the critical importance of the extended control mission and operational practices, including those discussed next. Classification Most prison classification systems have evolved over the last two decades from very subjective means of classifying inmates to relatively objective systems. This move toward objectivity has occurred mainly to avoid unbridled discretion and to incorporate into classification instruments the philosophical and policy preferences significant to the agency. Typically the classification process will allow for the orderly determination of the level of custody an inmate requires, based on criminal and behavioral history; the medical, psychological, and programmatic needs and limitations of the inmate; and the type of institution that can best meet those considerations. Objective classification systems have not only helped correctional agencies defend their placement decisions when challenged, but have helped them attempt to place individuals in the least-restrictive facility and theresystems also generally provide inmates with a known fore presumably the least costly. Objective classification path for moving to less secure facilities and incentives for behaving appropriately, working, and pursuing im- provement programs. It is therefore wise for agencies that are operating or planning to operate extended control facilities to assure that the process for identifying inmates for placement there is at least consistent with and preferably an integral part of the agency s classification process. This will probably assist in legal defense of the placements as well as help avoid the overuse or inappropriate use of very expensive housing. Inherent in using the clas- sification process to determine an inmate s eligibility for extended control is that the criteria for admission are clearly articulated, non-ambiguous, and consistent with the agency s disciplinary process. Many agencies operate under administrative rule or policy that provides a mechanism and authorization for placement of an inmate in administrative confinement or segregation when he/she is deemed to be a threat to the safety, security, or orderly operation of the institution. This is often a non-disciplinary status that is, the placement is not a penalty with a determinate time affixed to it, but is based on a pattern or history of dangerousness or unconfirmed but reliable evidence of pending disruption. With the advent of extended control facilities and specific criteria for placement, agencies should carefully consider what impact the need or requirement to provide objective or behaviorally based criteria for admission there would have on administrative segregation decisions. In many agencies, administrative segregation of an inmate who may be a threat to safety, security, or order is an approved remedy without application of objective criteria or verified misconduct. Wardens peri- 8
15 odically invoke this procedure as a preventative or protective measure based on strong belief that an inmate s continued presence in the general population may create a threat to safety and security. Following periodic reviews, segregation of such inmates may then be continued, despite exemplary behavior in segregation, because of the strong belief that the inmate s violent proclivities and/or intentions to harm others or threaten security of the facility when given the opportunity remain unchanged. Hans Toch and Kenneth Adams, in The Disturbed Violent Offender, discuss the management of offenders who are viewed as having mental health deficiencies and who are violent. They differentiate between the disturbed violent offender and the disturbed violent offender. Herein lies one of the numerous classification difficulties related to the protection of others by segregation of offenders with a history and potential of violence. Diagnosis, prediction, risk assessment, and identification of causal factors to violent acting out often defy objective criteria and invite a significant degree of subjectivity. Prison administrators should be cognizant of that difficulty in defining admission, release, and length of stay criteria. Once an inmate is placed in an extended control facility, specific classification review periods are advisable, either chronological or event-driven, or both. The reviews should provide the inmate with the opportunity to offer information that would lead to consideration of a reduced custody placement and to be informed of the conditions that must be met for such consideration. It would be prudent to have the final authority for approving admission to, retention in, and release from an extended control facility rest at the highest levels of the organization. This would preclude or minimize potential abuse of the policy criteria for admission and release and also raise the level of organizational consciousness of the seriousness of such placements. Programming Decisions on what types of programming to provide and how should be well thought out. Obviously the more programs available to the inmates, the less vulnerable the facility will be to legal challenge and the more likely that inmates negative reaction to isolation will be ameliorated. Programming for this purpose includes education, work opportunities, exercise, and various other programs aimed at improving the inmates behav- ior, knowledge, or skills. It would be prudent to have the final authority for approving admission to, retention in, and release from extended control rest at the highest levels of the organization. Education is provided in a variety of ways in extended control facilities around the country. Some agencies allow television in the cells and provide education or self-help programs through intra-institution cable. Some supplement this with instructors providing assistance through cell-front visits. Others allow small congregate classes in day rooms or special rooms in close proximity to the housing units. Some provide no educational programs at all. Most allow no work activities, although they might provide some work opportunities in transition programs for inmates being prepared to leave the extended control environment. Exercise in most extended control facilities is limited to three to seven hours (in one-hour intervals) per week, generally in an indoor space or small, secure, attached outdoor space. Usually exercise is provided to one inmate at a time and the inmate is escorted in restraints by two or more correctional officers to and from the exercise space. Congregate exercise occurs only in transition programs provided in some facilities. Agencies evaluating their extended control facilities or planning new ones should pay close attention to exercise and how they provide it. It is a critical issue not only because of the human, health, and legal issues it presents, but for the staffing cost and security implications. The number of staff required to move each inmate from a cell to the exercise space and back three to seven times each week is considerable. As these events also constitute the most frequent time that the inmate is out of his/her cell, they also present the most likely opportunity for resistive or combative behavior or the exchange or introduction of contraband. Most other types of programming offered in extended control facilities, such as substance abuse treatment, anger management, and vocational training, are provided only through television, correspondence, or 9
16 written materials. Several agencies operating transition units offer congregate programming, generally concentrating on education, substance abuse treatment, and behavior control (such as anger management). Agencies planning or evaluating extended control facilities would be well served to thoughtfully address the provision of inmate programs. Legal, human, financial, and security implications attach to each of the choices made. The choices can range from an approach of no more programming than is legally required to provision of as much programming as resources allow, consistent with the security needs of the facility. The choices made will set the tone for the overall nature of the extended control environment and will inevitably have an impact on the quality of the program. Religion Providing for the inmate to practice his/her religion poses particular challenges to extended control facility administrators, since the entry of any person to the housing unit presents additional opportunity for the introduction of contraband. Agencies operating extended control facilities usually provide for religious programming through cell-front visits by staff chaplains; approved clergy; or, in some instances, approved religious volunteers. Several agencies provide religious services and information through closed-circuit television available in the cells. A few allow small groups of inmates to participate in congregate services, normally in or immediately adjacent to the housing unit. Extended control facilities also tend to have somewhat abbreviated lists of approved religious articles that inmates are allowed to keep in their cells. Those planning such programs should review their intended religious articles allowance lists and try to strike a balance between actual security needs and the inmate s right to practice his/her religion. Length of Stay The length of stay in extended control facilities varies greatly across jurisdictions. Some agencies have determinate periods of time to be served, but most have relatively or wholly indeterminate placements. The amount of time served may depend upon the perceived risk the inmate presents, behavior changes, the amount of time left in the inmate s sentence, changes in the inmate s physical or psychological condition, the inmate s willingness to renounce gang ties, or other factors. The ongoing agency need for extended control beds requires some movement of inmates out of extended control. To the extent possible, such movement should be based upon clear criteria related to the factors that led to the inmate s placement there. While specific catego- ries of offense or violation, such as homicide, may merit a far-distant date for possible return to lesser custody, most inmates should be considered for reduced custody in the shorter term. The development of release criteria that enable estimating length of stay is of practical importance in maintaining bed availability and pro- jecting the agency s bed needs for operating and capital budget planning purposes. It is critical that the agency planning or evaluating an extended control facility consciously address the length-of-stay issue. Duration of certain types of confinement, particularly if that confinement is atypical of the norm, has frequently been one of the yardsticks courts have used in evaluating the constitutionality of a program. Presumably, once the threat that the inmate presented to other people or the orderly operation of the institution has passed, there is no need for him/her to be retained in an extended control environment. Ideally, specific criteria should be developed, along with a process for assessment, that would allow the inmate to transition from an extended control facility to lesser levels of custody and security. Many agencies provide several levels of control and privileges in the same facility, offering the inmate the opportunity to display the ability to adjust and behave in a less-controlled environment. Failure to provide some transition or release mechanism will not only create a sense of hopelessness among many of the inmates, but will cause the overuse of costly high-security beds. Corrections professionals agree that, ideally, dangerous inmates should not be released directly to the community from extended control and that transition and pre-release programming would prepare them for reintegration. It is difficult, however, to balance the inmate s need for such programming with the agency s responsibility to provide a safe and secure work environment for its staff. An approaching release date seldom, if ever, changes the degree of threat to staff for the better. Most often, inmates who are dangerous pose greater threat to staff as the term of control by the agency decreases. An agency s policies should address this very important but difficult issue. 10
17 Human Contact One of the most frequent criticisms of extended control facilities is the degree to which the inmate is isolated from contact with other human beings. In the typical facility, cell doors, unit doors, and shower doors are operated remotely from a control center. Human contact may be limited to instances when medical staff, clergy, or a counselor stops at the front of the inmate s cell during rounds. Physical contact may be limited to being touched through a security door by a correctional officer while being placed in restraints or having restraints removed. The bulk of verbal communication may occur through intercom systems. Further minimization of human contact may result from the use of technologies such as cameras; remote listening devices; and remote control devices for televisions, water, and lights. Specific scheduling of different staff who check on the inmate regularly and provide some verbal interaction opportunity will help mitigate the we/them syndrome that is inherent to an extended control environment. Special training in techniques for communicating with this population is advisable for all staff. Medical Services One of the most vulnerable parts of any correctional operation is the medical care provided to an inmate population. The less freedom an inmate has to seek out medical assistance, the greater the burden on corrections officials to assure that adequate medical care is available and provided. Agencies planning or evaluating extended control facilities must assure that they adequately provide for routine and emergency medical care and that policies, procedures, and training assure that all staff are alert to actual medical problems and needs. Logistically, providing appropriate medical care in an extended control facility is a special challenge due to the inability of the inmate to move unescorted to a central medical infirmary. Most facilities use a triage process for providing medical services, involving regular cell-front visits by medical personnel to administer medication and listen to inmates medical concerns. Many facilities regularly schedule medical personnel to perform simple examinations in small exam rooms located in or near the housing units. More extensive medical examinations or procedures usually require movement to a central location within the facility, to a different facility, or even to a community setting. This requires a significant investment of custody staff time generally two or three correctional officers accompanying the inmate, who is in restraints, at all times. Care should be taken by those planning and evaluating extended control facilities to balance the need for security, safety, and efficiency with the need to provide adequate human interaction between the inmate and selected staff. Adequate visiting programs for approved visitors albeit in non-contact visiting areas can at least partially compensate for the absence of human contact in the housing unit. The frequency of visiting varies greatly among extended control facilities, ranging from one hour to several hours per month. Some facilities tie the frequency of visits to the phase of the program that the inmate is in, with more frequent visits allowed as the inmate progresses through the phases. The inclusion of modern equipment and technology in the facility such as specially designed video equipment that allows conducting medical examinations from a remote site (telemedicine) has proven effective in some jurisdictions. Such technology can reduce the need for inmate transport and thereby reduce the cost of custody staff and enhance security. Mental Health Services Prominent in recent legal challenges to extended control facilities are issues around the provision of mental health services. As the percentage of mentally ill offenders represented in correctional populations has grown over the last decade, corrections systems have had to deal with a wide range of mental illnesses and 11
18 disorders, frequently without adequate resources. Inmates displaying self-destructive, assaultive, or aberrant behavior often end up being treated solely as disciplinary cases and, in many corrections systems, become prime candidates for extended control. Other inmates become mentally ill while in the extended control environment. Most corrections officials will agree that the inmate with multiple diagnoses (for example, mental illness, addiction, and violence) poses significant problems in the orderly operation of a prison. It is an unfortunate circumstance that housing, program, and offender management decisions must often be based on options available (driven by the agency s resources) and system needs (safe, secure, and orderly operations), rather than through a prioritization of the multiply diagnosed offender s needs. An offender with a serious history of violence and current propensities that suggest probable reoccurrence of such behaviors might possibly be housed in an extended control environment absent the availability of a secure mental health treatment unit. Agencies with extended control facilities manage this population in different ways. Some generally larger agencies that have the numbers to support consolidation have created separate segregation units specifically for offenders diagnosed as mentally ill. Others attempt to provide services within the extended control facility. Yet others exclude mentally ill offenders from placement there, at least those who have been clinically diagnosed and/or are receiving psychotropic medications. It is important that prison officials examine their options in managing inmates with special needs. being considered for such a facility should have a mental health evaluation. Although some mentally ill offenders are assaultive and require control measures, much of the regime common to extended control facilities may be unnecessary, and even counterproduc-tive, for this population. Food Service Correctional administrators have learned over the years that providing adequate, nutritionally balanced, properly cooked food is essential both for the successful management of a prison and to meet constitutional minima when conditions of confinement are challenged. Extended control facilities provide the ultimate correctional food service challenge. Normally meals are prepared remotely from the extended control housing unit(s). They then must be moved to the housing units and distributed to each cell. A variety of cart and tray systems are currently in use, but all are staff intensive and time consuming. Care must be taken that food is maintained at the proper temperature and that proper hygiene precautions are followed during distribution and cleanup. In most facilities this burden falls entirely on staff normally the custody staff and can be a daily source of conflict and resistance if the food and/or procedures are inadequate. If extended control becomes the housing of choice (or of necessity) for these populations, care must be taken to assure that services are provided to address their needs. It is critical that, at a minimum, provision is made for mental health professional staff to regularly visit each inmate housed there to assess for signs of mental illness. Provision then must be made to assure that treatment is available in the facility or elsewhere. Security measures in most extended control facilities make such assessment and treatment programs difficult and expensive. To facilitate recognition of symptoms of mental illness, early referral, and proper management, many agencies are now providing basic mental health training to correctional officers. Insofar as possible, mentally ill inmates should be excluded from extended control facilities. Each inmate 12
19 Incentives, disincentives, or both should be incor- porated as part of the facility s policies to encourage inmates to maintain acceptable levels of sanitation in their cells. Policies should be developed to govern the distribution of materials and equipment to inmates for cleaning their cells. All of the other complexities of correctional food service should also be considered by those evaluating an extended control facility or planning a new one. These include quantity and quality control, religious diets, medical diets, and presentation. Adherence to normally accepted dietary standards should be maintained, and food service and facility managers should monitor this. Property The property an inmate is allowed to possess always poses a challenge for prison administrators, but even more so in extended control facilities. On one hand, allowing the inmate to maintain certain types of property (such as a television, radio, and recreational reading materials) would help mitigate the absence of other stimuli. The more property allowed, however, the more difficult it is for staff to conduct thorough searches. A large amount of property in housing units makes the introduction and concealment of contraband much easier. It may present a fire hazard, as well as make maintenance of sanitation standards more difficult. Efficient, hygienic laundry services must be available, and routine linen and clothing exchange procedures maintained and monitored. Excess linen and clothing in the cells becomes both a sanitation and facility budget issue and makes it difficult to conduct good cell searches. Careful evaluation of property to be allowed should strike a balance between the security, safety, and sanitation needs of the facility and a property allowance that supports reasonable human dignity. Particular attention must be given to items that could present a security threat: razors, pens, matches, etc. Agencies vary widely in what and how much they allow. Some allow commissary purchases, some allow them only after certain phases of the program have been completed, and some disallow such purchases entirely. Critical to planning or evaluation efforts is that such decisions must be commensurate with the level of risk presented by the specific population of the facility. Hygiene and Sanitation Issues Inmate personal hygiene and cleanliness of the facility are important when planning or evaluating extended control options. Most facilities have toilet and washbasin fixtures in each cell and showers located centrally within the housing units. Two or more correctional officers move inmates individually in restraints to the shower (normally three or more times per week). This is a staff-intensive process that presents an opportunity for resistance, combativeness, or contraband introduction. Recent designs for extended control facilities include a shower in each cell with the water remotely controlled, thereby eliminating the need for staff-intensive escort to central showers. Sanitation of other parts of the facility and other hygiene issues must also be taken into account. Since extended control inmates are restricted to their cells unless in restraints and under escort, they cannot perform cleaning or other facility maintenance work in common areas that inmates in a general population prison would typically do. Accommodation must then be made for staff to maintain these areas. Security Security issues clearly become the focal point of most extended control facilities. If indeed the inmate population held there is limited to those who have 13
20 Communication of changes in policies and proce- dures must be quick and thorough. As in other correc- tional settings, the legality of operations in extended control facilities will be measured against the facility s or agency s own policies and procedures and whether staff performance is consistent with those policies and procedures. displayed a propensity for violence or escape, or who present a threat of disruption within a prison, then strict control of all materials, information, and personnel entering or leaving the facility becomes crucial to its orderly and safe operation. A formal, official, frequent, and ongoing updating of policies and procedures is essential. Informal excep- tions, handwritten modifications, and memoranda at variance with existing policies or procedures quickly render them ineffective, if not useless. If operations or incidents are challenged in court, the facility s policies and procedures will become its greatest ally or greatest adversary. Many security issues are dependent upon the physical design, and proper design can go a long way in ameliorating many security problems. However, the greatest contribution to a sound security program is an alert, well-trained, professional staff. With few exceptions, escapes, disturbances, and homicides in extended control facilities were the result of human error. The routine inherent to these facilities can become disarming, leading to potential breakdown in critical procedures. Some agencies, by policy or scheduling, attempt to lessen the effects of routine by rotating staff in the housing units, between units, or into other parts of the facility. Frequent shakedowns of the cells and areas of the facility that inmates may use are essential and require extensive staff training and supervision if they are to be conducted properly. Technology can contribute to a sound security program. A variety of options are now available for staff and visitor screening, and new types of scanners and detectors for examining property and mail. New types of perimeters, security doors, and control mechanisms can enhance security. Particular attention should be paid to those technologies that not only qualitatively improve the facility s security, but also reduce staffing requirements. Policies and Procedures Particularly critical to the operation of extended control facilities are policies that enumerate what must be done (or not be done) and procedures that dictate how things should be done. The policies should clearly state the correctional agency s philosophy and expectations for the operation of the extended control facility, along with explicit procedures for how and when which things should be accomplished. Staff must be thoroughly trained on policies and procedures that apply to them and be aware of who, if anyone, can make exceptions. The policies should elaborate on the behavior expected of both staff and inmates, as well as between staff and inmates. Operational difficulties in the past generally were the result of inadequate policies and procedures, failure to adequately train staff, or both. Routine security audits are excellent tools to ensure compliance with established policies and procedures. A comprehensive audit program and well-designed system checks that assess staff response, equipment, and operational practices will help assure a strong security system. Such a program will also maintain the knowledge and skill levels of the staff and reinforce their attentiveness. Use of Force The use of force is inevitable in extended control settings. Care must be taken in planning or evaluating these facilities to ensure that policies and procedures, techniques, philosophies, and controls of the use of force are thoroughly analyzed. Although a few agencies have officers in control booths armed with firearms and/or gas, most rely on higher numbers of staff as their primary means of physical control, supplemented by a variety of nonlethal weapons. A case can be made that force is used each time an inmate is moved out of the cell. Typically, two or more officers handcuff the inmate (often supplemented by leg or waist chains) before he/she is allowed out of the cell. The inmate is then moved under the supervision of two or three officers in some agencies by hands-on escort to the destination point. Such instances are referred to as routine use of force. 14
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